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JUSTIN TRUDEAU, ERIN O’TOOLE, JAGMEET SINGH: HOSTAGES TO QUEBEC; DOUBLE STANDARDS IN THE FACE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

Terrorism will spill over if you don’t speak up. — Malala Yousafzai

Speak your mind even though your voice shakes. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Never be afraid to speak your mind, you have one for a reason. — Sarah Moores

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Maybe it’s just me. In Canadian politics, I just don’t see much, if anything, to admire or respect, to risk hanging one’s hat on; it’s all about the main chance. Apparently, in matters of belief, principle, duty, and ability, the most important facility one needs to enter politics is the ability to be shameless. Integrity, character, empathy and sincerity are useful assets but not essential, items to be called upon when needed then set aside when not if and when they threaten one own’s goals. Honesty is a mug’s game so best possess a pokerface proficiency when lying.

The day of the truly honest, perhaps principled is a better word, politician has long passed, a product of another era; there was Tommy Douglas and Stanley Knowles. Three were even Conservatives: Robert Stanfield, Flora MacDonald and Joe Clark. But these are mostly personal impressions from what I have read, heard and witnessed on television. Though I cannot vouch for them first hand, I suspect these five were people, I might have liked though not enough to join the party of three.

The politicians of today do not interest me. None intrigue me or show signs of promise offering hope. The Conservatives are obstreperous, shrill, whiney, dishonest, short-sighted, and two-faced more likely to draw upon and appeal to the worst in us; they prefer to tear down than to raise up and are more willing to foment fear, create enemies and exploit bigotry not with the goal of making Canada a better place but in gaining power and clinging to it for as long as possible. The NDP fares not much better. It has surrendered too much of what I have always supported in the socialist vision. In fact, it spends too much time denying its roots drifting to the right, less interested in actually achieving things, as it often did in the past by holding the balance of power, than in gaining power. It’s a party that has consciously sought the middle ground threatening to drift and sink on the shoals of irrelevancy. As for the Liberals, well, what can one say? It’s a party steeped in corruption, hypocrisy and putrid with smugness, less interested in the governance of the nation than in protecting malfeasant corporate interests at the expense of judicial integrity provided the corporate interests are Canadian.

For all three, it’s about the main chance. 

Justin Trudeau is not a man I would care to know or even meet; I see enough of him on the daily news and that is more than sufficient to form an opinion: he is a poseur. When he wants the world to know that he is about to do done something, particularly if it is politically correct or, at the least, sounds good, as when he announced during the 2015 campaign that that year would be the last ever first-past-the-post election in Canada, he will, first looking to ensure the cameras are there and correctly positioned, loudly, and smugly make the declaration with a bombastic flourish, head high, chin and chest out. A certain cartoon majesty seeking public notice and attention. That will almost always work when the declarations are what most can agree on: equality, human rights, feminism, an end to intolerance and it will work particularly well with those who actually do believe in the good of people, even the very politicos who betray them time and time again. Myself, I’m skeptical. But hindsight informs. The smugness, and you can see it in his carriage in almost every announcement that he believes significant, (they all are — to him), derives from his awareness that, however bold and bombastic the promise, he has them. And if he breaks his promise, and he has and does time-and-again, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of how dishonestly, dishonourably or brutally he breaks the pledge and, at times, their hearts, he only has to smile and, oozing, simply oozing sincerity, dish up another offering just as meaningful to his fans. He is a rock star who can do no wrong no matter how outrageous or callous his betrayal. He treats them as suckers. And they are. They still follow and believe him when he utters, less often now than the early days as prime minister, that he is a feminist, that he believes in human rights, that he will fight for Canada, that his governance will be honest, open, transparent by default. Well, we know none of that was true, don’t we? One can almost hear him snickering: Suckers! He has wormed his way into their hearts with lies and promises that he broke again and again and will do again and again. He is tin sheet with the same depth.  

Oh, he looks good. He looks convincing. But I do not trust him; I cannot believe in him; I certainly cannot like him. I tried, but within months of his taking office, you could see him for what he was. A phony. Jostling female members aside with his elbows as he sprang to the chamber floors of parliament to grab a member and push him back into his seat. Or, most recently, when he, and all the political party leaders, attended and spoke out at a memorial service in London, Ontario after a Muslim family of five, Yumna Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Yumna’s grandmother, and Salman Afzaal, were mowed down by a young man filled with hate using a truck as a weapon. A nine year old boy, Fayez Afzaal, survived to mourn the loss of his sister, mother, father and grandmother. All, three leaders spoke out against terrorism and Islamophobia, Trudeau oozing, simply oozing the most sincerity. Yet, perhaps, we should be reminded if reminders are necessary and they seem to be, that the liberals, conservatives and NDP are on the same page when it comes to words versus action. Addressing Parliament, Jagmeet Singh spoke of his outrage and the need for laws to combat hate, especially Islamophobia. At the London vigil, June 2, he spoke out against the “Heinous act of terrorism” and spoke of the need for Muslims to be proud of who they were, of combating on-line hate, of the need for political parties to stop using “Islam for political games”, a clear reference to the 2015 campaign in which the Harper conservatives announced their intent to create a Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line targeting, you guessed it, Muslims. But Singh’s words were there, the rage real. Or so it seemed. Erin O’Toole who spoke before Singh and after Trudeau, had been a member of Harper’s regime at the time of the snitch line debacle. On that matter, he had been silent as have been all those conservatives reelected until this devastating event. O’Toole’s London address noted the “rise of Islamophobia is the pandemic of darkness” and the need to “repel evil with goodness.” Fine words. But that night, he did not own up to the role his party and he and his colleagues played in that “rise of Islamophobia”. Since then, conservatives O’Toole, Michelle Rempel and others started falling over themselves to apologize for their failures in not speaking out when colleagues Kellie Leitch and Chris Alexander, departed but unlamented MPs, breathlessly announced the promise of the snitch line. Fine words at the vigil, but too late by far and by close to six years. And then we have Trudeau, self-declared feminist and equal rights supporter with his own history of hypocrisy of groping and blackface partying declaring the murders of the London family, a hate crime and act of terrorism. He was and is right on that. But wait.

So, there we have them, the three party leaders on the same page regarding this murderous May 30th event in London, Ontario. And yet, and yet, turning another page, they, Trudeau, O’Toole, and Singh, also appear in agreement that seems to deny their own fine words and sentiments expressed during the vigil for the Afzaal family. On this page, there is no moral outrage, no denunciations of hatred, of racism and of white supremacy. Not a word or, if a word, barely heard, a whisper perhaps. When offered the opportunity to back their words of the Afzaal vigil with deeds, they are peculiarly dumb.

Quebec’s premier Francois Legault has passed into law, Bill-21. It bans religious symbols being displayed in public buildings and on public servants while at work. Quebec aspires to nationhood and calls itself a nation. It is not. Yet not one Federal political leader is willing to say this. Quebec not only aspires to nationhood but aspires also to secularism. But this aspiration has less to do with religion than it has to do with one particular segment of society. You’ve got it. Bill-21 targets Muslims. Again, not one federal leader has challenged this law. You see, they all want to be elected and to do that they need the Quebec vote and Bill-21 is wildly popular in Quebec and politicians, as you know, are nothing if not cheap, sleazy pandering, opportunistic whores. Quebec has Canada in a stranglehold and our leaders cravenly standby, putting their political fortunes over that of Canada. Their silence on Quebec as a “nation” is divisive and may embolden the malcontent whiney premiers like Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Brian Pallister, Doug Ford and their supporters to boast the same and act accordingly. On the matter of Islamophobia or any form of hatred and violence, there is even greater, more immediate need for concern.   

Shortly following the vigil for the murdered family where politicians of all stripes said their fine words, a reporter asked Trudeau if he, Trudeau, believed Quebec’s Bill-21 to be racist. Without looking at the reporter or camera, staring fixedly ahead at nothing, Trudeau, his face tight and expressionless, gave his succinct one-word verdict: “No”! It appears that O’Toole and Singh agree.

That’s about all I need to know about these people.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

TRUDEAU: STARSTRUCK, BAD CHOICES AND CHARACTER

Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke. – Will Rogers

What the country needs is more unemployed politicians. – Angela Davis

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Even as opposition member during Stephen Harper’s reign, Trudeau had about him the air of a youngster eager to please alertly mindful to how the elders were responding to anything he did: Had they noticed what a good boy was he. For many, exhausted by the mean-spirited leadership of the conservative regime, Trudeau’s desire to be liked and noticed, seemed refreshingly innocent particularly when accompanied by loud pronouncements of what he would do during his run as prime minister, a few bold and easy to support: electoral reform; reconciliation with indigenous communities; action on climate change; ending omnibus bills in which were slipped questionable, unannounced legislation; reinstatement of disability pension plans for veterans; and ending the practice of prorogation of Parliament as a tactic to reset an agenda, to avoid questions, to prevent scandals from gaining traction, and to trigger an election. Said Trudeau of the last in 2015, “Stephen Harper has used prorogation to avoid difficult political situations. We will not.” With him and his liberals at the helm, governance would be different, better wherein honesty and transparency “by default” would be the hallmark was the promise. Canadians had heard this before, of course, countless times, but there was something about the young prince that made many willing to suspend incredulity for there was much to like and embrace apart from his earnestness. For the sceptical, perhaps spent by too many disappointments, while there was a desire for change, hope was measured; there was about Trudeau something too calculated for either trust or faith; he could earn their liking, receive their best wishes but not their vote. 

During the 2015 campaign and for some time following as prime minister, Trudeau seemed almost a naïf, earning good-humoured ribbing for his willingness, nay, eagerness, to apologize for almost every real past and present grievance experienced by segments of society. But humour soon turned to scorn when the apologies came too easily and as if by rote and for things over which he had no control ringing even more hollow when offered without reflection or followed by remedial measures. For a period, he was likely the sorriest world leader of our time if not all time. Eventually, ever sensitive to the direction of the public wind, perhaps realizing charm had morphed to smarm in the eyes of some, Trudeau’s apologies waned and then all but ceased. Now, when matters for which he should apologize are raised, and there are a lot of them, there has been a noticeable shift in how he reacts to questions he does not like. The warmth vanishes and, with it, the charm, his body becomes rigid and his gaze wanders coldly off into space for extended periods of time. When he does respond, he does so with frosty politeness offering non-answers, equivocations, deflections, side issues, glib dismissals, and/or excuses meant to be accepted as reasons. Still, the public likes him. Why?

Trudeau’s early forays into his first term, gave a clear vision of the man he would be and is…one of fluid ethics and familiar character failings common among cheap politicos. Even as he took steps to initiate the electoral reform promise, it was clear he meant to rig the outcome to his liking and when that didn’t happen, the committee recommending some form of proportional representation practiced by most democratic nations around the world, he preceded to sabotage it saying Canadians had lost interest. His minister of democratic reform, Maryam Monself denounced the committee for taking a pass on making a decision. The public outrage stemming from that prompted Trudeau to contract a firm to do an online survey on electoral reform that was mocked as unscientific and dishonest, allowing individuals to make unlimited entries and denied opportunities to answer direct questions on electoral reform systems because none were offered. Trudeau was determined. He was going to kill electoral reform and, to that end, Trudeau replaced Monsef with Karina Gould who officially drove the stake into the heart of electoral reform while he, having washed his hands of the affair, walked away the two female MPs bearing the brunt of the fallout. That would not be the last time that happened.

In appointing Jody Wilson-Raybould Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the first indigenous and third female to hold the post, Trudeau had made a prize catch in which he could bask. Unfortunately, politics and business got in the way when he sought to have Wilson-Raybould intervene in a charged court case involving SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based construction giant facing charges of bribery, corruption and fraud. If found guilty, the company would have been barred from doing government business for ten years. Worse, such a verdict might have a negative impact on Trudeau’s Quebec political fortunes if he was perceived as having not done enough to protect a major Quebec employer. Trudeau wanted the Minister of Justice to lean on the Director of Public Prosecutions to offer the company a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that would have allowed the company to avoid a trial, a guilty verdict and continue to do government business simply by meeting certain remedial conditions that were mostly window dressing in nature. Jody Wilson-Raybould’s refusal to intervene in the case enraged Trudeau and liberals who then embarked on a smear campaign to discredit her eventually forcing her from office of Governor General and Minister of Justice to that of Veterans Affairs until her resignation from cabinet to sit as an independent. Of the remaining liberals, only one other, Jane Philpott, a very capable minister and recently appointed to the senior position of President of the Treasury Board, stood up in defence of Wilson-Raybould, resigning to sit as an independent in solidarity. For that debacle, Trudeau staunchly refused to apologize “for saving Canadian jobs” nor did he apologize for seeking to pervert the rule of law. The gloves were off. No more mister nice guy. For that. too, he remains one of the worlds sorriest world leaders. Two more women took the hit. Trudeau? Not so much. Bruised but not battered enough.

Feminist? He declared himself so often enough. If so, perhaps adopted when he was about 28 or 29 and after attending a Creston Valley music event where he was accused of groping a local female news reporter. When it made the news at the time, he apologized to the woman, claiming not to recall any inappropriate behaviour even saying the same 20 years later, “Who knows where her mind was and I fully respect her ability to experience something differently” (CTVNews, July 6, 2018). Incredible. After all these years, when questioned on the allegations, he appeared fairly untroubled even seeming to suggest the reporter chose to remember whatever encounter that took place in a way that suited her. How far removed from his zero tolerance days when he booted from caucus two liberal members for unrelated allegations by an NDP member of sexual harassment. Though both denied the allegations, they were informed that they would not be allowed to run under the liberal banner as long as the allegations stood, Trudeau, to all intents destroying the careers of two individuals on untested allegations. It made for a good if bloody show; unfortunately, the zero-tolerance edict ostensibly didn’t apply to him. Feminist? When it is safe for him, evidently. Then we have Trudeau’s response to the release of the Trump tapes during Trump’s 2016 election bid with Trump educating a tv host on how the rich and wealthy treat women boasting of “grabbing them by the p____”. When asked on at least two separate occasions to comment, Trudeau refused to take the opportunity to condemn Trump saying he didn’t comment on American politics! Evidently, Trudeau’s views on feminism and harassment (among others) are not so deeply entrenched as to hobble him. Politicians are rarely ensnared by principle. Feminist? We only have his word. 

Free gifts; access-for-cash secret fundraising events with multi-millionaires; turning a blind eye to human rights by signing off on the Harper initiated LAV deal with murderous human rights abusing Saudi Arabia and then offering lie after lie as reasons for doing so. When not pretending to be a progressive, as he sought to slip legislation into omnibus bills, Trudeau prorogued parliament to avoid answering questions regarding his sole-sourced contract (two more broken promises) to the high profile WE Charity having determined that charity the only organization capable of administering the $912 million government funds for the student summer grants program. This was a highly visible and popular charity, something Trudeau could easily latch himself to and further burnish his image. But there was a hitch apart from the sole-sourcing of the contract: Trudeau and the liberals had a few too cozy ties with the charity. Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau had made several appearances at WE Day events before and after he became prime minister. In fact, Trudeau’s wife, mother and brother received from the charity about $427K for appearances and expenses. WE Charity paid Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s expenses to the UK so she could meet British superstar Iris Elba. This was arranged by Bill Morneau, then finance minister, whose daughter worked for the organization. When the decision was made to offer the student grant program to WE Charity, both Trudeau and Morneau were in attendance. They should not have been. Morneau had the grace to at least resign. Trudeau? He offered a puerile apology; his days of oozing, simply oozing sincerity over it seemed. The founders, Marc and Craig Kielburger, and the charity, were left battered and bruised, reputations tainted leading to the closure of the Canadian arm. While much of the Kielburger’s difficulties were largely of their own making in the way of bad business decisions and advertising tie-ins, the decision to sole-source was Trudeau’s. He threw the charity and his dazed friends under the bus just as easily as he sabotaged electoral reform once they were no longer utile and posed a threat to his brand. When around Trudeau, it might be well to recall Jeremy Thorpe’s words: Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his political life. Trudeau smiles, but he is as ruthless and as untrustworthy as any political snake. When the WE Charity scandal broke, prorogation was the tool to which he resorted hoping Canadians had a quick forgettery. Clearly, we do; some still consider him Prince Charming.

In one of the most egregious, odious and disgraceful acts by Trudeau and his liberals, the political meddling in government supply ship contracts favouring Irving Shipbuilding must certainly be topmost. As with Jody Wilson-Raybould, Trudeau’s liberals embarked on a campaign to shred the career of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman who opposed the political interference in the contract made by the previous Harper regime. Even when it became clear that Trudeau and his government had lost the public relations and legal battle, the PMO persisted on a path that was vindictive, cruel and incredibly petty. When the case against Norman for breach of trust collapsed, a motion to issue an apology in the House was made, a motion to which Trudeau agreed. However, before it was adopted, Trudeau left the House for an “appointment” in Hamilton, Ontario. That move was worthy of Stephen Harper. Classy. Oh, yes, Trudeau’s days of apologies are seemingly over while another’s life sits in ruins. That is Trudeau. Gotta love the guy!

And, if anyone thinks this is a man of sound judgement, let’s go back to another time after his groping days of reporters to when he was 29 and appeared in blackface, another thing he neglected to mention from his past. When confronted by this, he admitted to doing some “dumb things”. That’s allowed, we all do dumb things. But, in the age of feminist and racial sensitivity, an individual of 28 and 29, especially one as attuned to the political winds as Trudeau, must surely be aware of what is tolerated and not particularly when contemplating a political life smugly serene of having created an image of the sensitive new age guy appealing to the young, women, grandparents, and those calling themselves progressives. He might have been better served by addressing his own “unconscious” racism long before it became public. As leader of a nation, shouldn’t he be more reflective and receptive to delving into his attitudes then and now? 

Trudeau has manufactured an image of himself that the public was meant to embrace. He could be touchy-feely but was determined to demonstrate he was no soft mark. In 2014, as liberal leader, he informed senators in the Upper Chamber who had always considered themselves liberals that they no longer had ties to the party and were, in fact, no longer liberals, but independents. It was a raw, showy, nervy display of muscle-flexing, arrogance, and cynicism that was and remains meaningless except as an indicator of his hubris and character. In May of 2016, seeking to rush through a bill on assisted dying, Trudeau, now PM, strode on the floor of the House to manhandle the Opposition whip and, in doing so, roughly elbowed a female NDP member telling her to get out of the “f… way”. Mr. Nice Guy…well, seems he’s not so nice after all. Political theatrics. He had a point to make. 

Does it boil down to simply politics, the way of doing business? What does that say about his character? Is it that easy it is to throw away the trust of those who gave you the keys to the House? New. Different. Better.

Some have dismissed many of what I have outlined as just youthful enthusiasm and a sincere if at times over-zealous desire to do good. I am not so sure. Trudeau is too studied in what he does, one always on the lookout for the approving looks, the props he can exploit, and is well aware of the location of the cameras. He is starstruck with his own personae believing, I suspect, Canadians will forgive him almost anything. But he is also starstruck as in celebrity stars, but not in the way of a true fan patiently waiting in line for an autograph or hoping for a photo with the star or sappily mooning when the celebrity speaks to him. For Trudeau, celebrities are only tools to be used in the same fashion they and politicians use citizens. Sure, they all stroke and use each other ensuring they all get their rewards. Even the little people, the grateful seekers and voters, if only often in the way of shiny trinkets and empty promises.  

Yet, even as he reaches for the stars and wins them over, he occasionally misjudges and misfires; the reflected glory that he seeks at times redounds negatively on him as it has recently with the resignation of Julie Payette, his personal choice as Governor General. When it came to replacing the governor general, Trudeau did not trouble himself with using a committee to find and vet candidates. He already had one in mind: female, single mother, famous astronaut, Quebec born, fluently bilingual, a scientist, a professor, a musician. On paper, Julie Payette was an excellent choice, a superstar; Canadians would love her, and he would come out of it a winner. He was golden because she was golden. 

Except, she wasn’t so golden, after all, quickly proving herself a loose cannon racking up massive expenses of close to $400K in renovating Rideau Hall, customary home for GGs, and then refusing to move in preoccupied with privacy and scrutiny. And if she proved a headache for security, often ditching them to do whatever, she also proved lazy in the performance of her duties, failing to visit some provinces, often ignoring many public functions routine to her position. Then came the release of the damning report of how she and her top aide, a personal friend, Assunta Di Lorenzo, had transformed a once “idyllic” workplace, as described by one worker, into a “hellhole” of meetings that involved harassment in the form of screaming, foul language and victimization of individual targets at staff meetings that left workers weeping, bruised and exhausted until some, unable to tolerate the toxic environment created by Payette and her aide, resigned. When the noise became too much, Payette offered her resignation, her annuity of $150K a year and an expense account reputed to range from $150K to $200K a year…for life, still intact. And Trudeau’s response to all this? Pretty tame, platitudes about how everyone is entitled to work in a harassment free environment, but no apology for his role in scrapping the vetting committee and for opting for celebrity and the spectacular rather than the more down-to-earth hardworking, capable talent required of the position. With this debacle, he further entrenched his position as a leader of the sorriest kind. No regrets. Not a hint of shae.

There is very little about Trudeau to admire in my books. He is too willing to resort to legalese rather than what is ethical as whe have seen time and again. One more example.

He has opted to dip into COVAX, a global plan coordinated by the World Health Organization created to pool resources of richer countries to offer funding and equal access to vaccines to poorer nations during this current crisis. Now Canada and any of the G7 nation are entitled to dip into the stock, but most, it appears, have no intention of doing so preferring to let it do what it was created to do. Not so Canada. Because the deals made with Pfizer and Moderna to supply the Covid-19 vaccine will not happen as quickly as believed and hoped, Trudeau has unapologetically (are we surprised?) dipped into the plan saying Canada is entitled to do so. That’s true. That’s also legalese. Because one can doesn’t mean one should. No wonder so many are looking at Canada askance and shaking their heads. Have we no shame.

And yet?

For the public, Trudeau’s handling of the pandemic crisis seems about right. Charm, good looks and oozing sincerity, are apparently sufficient. But there are signs the crown is slipping. 

Oh, yes, he’s a good boy, is he not? 

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

DONALD TRUMP LOSES AND HIS DIAPER BRIGADE GETS TO WORK

In a republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous. – Robert G. Ingersoll

From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own. – Publilius Syrus

Frank A. Pelaschuk

God help America. Words likely no more heartfelt than today.

Donald Trump is yesterday’s man in the world of politics. Even so, the stain of his legacy will be difficult to erase. In every conceivable way, as a man, a role model, as a businessman, as a leader, as a president of the United States, he is a contemptible loser. He is not only crude, he is cruel. He is a misogynist yet preys on women and thinks nothing of mocking those with disabilities and better people, real heroes, who have proven themselves in battle. He is a racist. He is stupid; to call him ignorant suggests a capability to learn and grow giving him too much credit. He surrounds himself with sycophants and panders to racist extremists fanning the flames of discontent and uncertainty. He encourages conspiracy theories and violence against perceived enemies which includes everyone who is critical. He possesses nothing of character that is not cartoonish, certainly nothing of dignity and the same goes for those who continue to stand by him, those whom Hillary Clinton had, to my mind, correctly judged as making up the “basket of deplorables.” For this, Clinton was roundly and unfairly criticized. What she had said may not have been to everyone’s liking but, given what has followed and continues to this day, convinces me she was right and right for saying so. 

Without any evidence to back the claims, despite courts tossing out suits in states where he lags behind, Trump continues to make declarations of widespread voter fraud with his plavlovian following of losers blindly repeating the charges, unwilling or unable, probably the latter, to accept and process what the whole world knows, the fraudster, the huckster, the liar, the cheat is himself seeking to steal the election in the belief that wailing and flailing like some gigantic baby soiling his diapers in a paroxysm of fury over the fact that he is a loser will magically set things aright in the fantasy world in which Trump and his kind live. These are not smart people nor are they good people. They are spoiled, self-absorbed, thoughtless people who believe nothing should get in the way of the fictional world they inhabit; their rights, their wants, their beliefs are all that matters and the hell with the world that doesn’t mesh with theirs. Covid-19 is Chinese made transmitted by telecommunications towers or a gigantic hoax or no worse than a flu. Wearing a mask is the end of their rights. As I say, these are stupid people placing faith in a buffoon who holds them in contempt. These folks are bluffers and hot air with streaks of meanness and pettiness as core to their character. And they are dangerous. Not only to themselves but to others and to the very concept of democracy and the nation they claim to love. Demagoguery and discord are what they thrive on and Trump is all too happy to feed them what they want: the right is victim to a gigantic conspiracy. They are shameless in their dishonesty, their efforts of revisionist history, in their self-deceit and utter lack of moral integrity, not only as citizens but also as adherents of American democracy. These gun-totting, gun-loving, God-fearing, church-going hypocrites, extremely vocal in their professions of love for America believe in none of it but their gun love and Trump love and their love of victimhood. For them, to truly commit to democracy would necessitate a turning of their backs against the church of Trumpism, of opening their eyes and minds to the world that is rather than the lala land of their fervid imaginings and of accepting the fact that their leader is a L-O-S-E-R wanting them to be exactly what he is: losers

For them, in their petty partisan fugue state, that would be no stretch.

Facts do not matter. Truth must be distorted. They wallow in the demagogic ramblings of a lunatic who must be constantly stroked, who cannot accept he can lose, who insists he is the smartest man to have ever been born; luckily for Trump, the likes of Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Rudy Giuliani, morally corrupt and venal, are always there to give him what he craves. They were born for roles such as this.

Lose, Trump will not go quietly. Win, he will not do graciously. The fact that this loser continues to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote count has led to a crisis that is truly alarming. As one group of Americans, under threat of violence, undertake the duty and honour of ensuring the democracy once much admired around the world remains intact with an accurate, honest and secure count, another group of armed miserable Yahoos threatens to tear it apart. It is these Yahoos who do not believe in the vote. Nor do they believe in democracy and the vision of America. Facts account for little their world of alternate reality. As I write this, Biden has been declared the winner. Trump and his supporters would have you believe the vote stolen, democrats dishonest, that everything that makes Trump a loser is just part of a conspiracy. Regardless of the facts, of the evidence, Trump has won his second term. They are zealots of a faithless cause with whom there can be no reasoning. For them, as for Trump, it will always be: the cheaters won. 

Unfortunately, when all this is over, Trump will have left his stain on American democracy. It may never be removed. He will have triumphed in his own vile way and it bodes no good for America. Even so, Trump can ramble incoherently all he wants; that’s allowed in a democracy. No matter the final outcome, the judgement and verdict of history will be final. Trump and the republican party has disgraced themselves and the offices they held. They have happily played the part of petulant vengeful thugs and losers.

That’s all they had and have going for them.     

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. –  Benjamin Franklin

DONALD TRUMP AND THE AMERICAN WAY TO CRAZY

The pompous son of a bitch knows everything—too bad he doesn’t know anything else. – Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

We have met the enemy and he is us.– Walt Kelly

Frank A. Pelaschuk

It’s enough to drive one crazy.

There’s a madman out there leading a nation of distracted, angry folk. They seem unable to articulate exactly what it is that so riles them but are certain they know it when they see it and they see it, the vast conspiracy, a cabal of radical left-wing socialist terrorists united in effort to take the little they have and Black Lives Matter, an anti-police movement and threat to the white supremacist view of life that should never have been.

Restless and angry, frightened too, most of them uncertain of the future or even if there will be one and their role in it, they just know someone is to blame and trust their leaders to tell them who. And the leaders are there, religious, social and free-market, all experts at fingerpointing and alternative facts. Unfortunately, the rabble do not often pause long enough to reflect and question their choices in whom to trust; they just want easy answers and assurances there is nothing wrong in them and that those responsible will pay. Republicans to the south and Conservatives here, are all too willing to join the game. 

So, they listen to the babble of others expressing the same fears and hear above the noise political and social leaders pointing fingers at Muslim immigrants, Hispanic migrant workers, radical socialist educators and students bent on corrupting the great American and Canadian way of life with impositions of exotic beliefs, faithless religion, and terroristic ideologies. The roiling rabble of discontented see in the BLM movement a threat necessitating the alt-right response, “All Lives Matter”, a response connoting not only recognition but also fear of chickens finally coming home to roost. Racists, such as Trump, the Proud Boys, the Sons of Odin, seize on that fear, likely unaware that in doing so, in seeking to counter the BLM movement, they are acknowledging their brutal historical contribution to the racial and religious divide where the colour of one’s skin and the strength of one’s belief can lead to death. White supremacist racist thugs see a reckoning heading their way; perhaps not in the immediate future but it’s coming and they are afraid. So, they spread the message, “All Lives Matter”, as if a new awakening when, in truth, that was the reality they refused, refused, to acknowledge from time immemorial with their anti-Semitic, anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Asian sprees of mayhem and death. It is only now, when the victims of the intolerance and violence are speaking up and fighting back, that victimizers, including those who, while not actively engaged, supported with their silence and inaction, have suddenly discovered the value of all lives. That is something the BLM supporters and all victims of intolerance have always known. Yet the bigots and the cowardly silent refused to listen. Yes, all lives matter, but why today? What about my life then, when the lynching, burnings and bombings were happening, where was the All Lives Matter Movement then for the countless victims of religious and racial intolerance? If those in the BLM are angry, who can blame them? The victims have had enough. There is no threat from BLM, just a declaration of notice: They will not, they cannot, they shall not take it any longer. That is not too much to demand of a free society.

But Trump and far too many like-minded political, religious, media, and societal leaders, mostly conservative, relying on support from white supremacist conspiracists with their grievances of victimhood would have you believe otherwise, would have you believe that victims standing up for themselves pose a threat not just to the victimizers but to all of society. The bigots, the stupid, and the cruel lap it up preferring to listen to the loudest lies by the loudest liars, and wink away the bromides and simplistic solutions contrived to further divide and harm claiming of those politicos engaged in such, “They tell it like it is.” Yet, when challenged to explain what they mean, the adherents often cannot only certain they like what they hear because it conforms to what they want to hear. The merits of what they hear don’t enter the picture because the followers of demagogues never question. And, why should they? It’s easier and more comforting to gorge on the poison you like. Chaos is the menu of the day and fear the dessert. 

And then we have the pandemics: Covid-19 and the age of aggressive stupidity, maskless folks, loudly proud of their rugged individualism, eagerly banding together in huge mobs apparently to prove—what?—endangering themselves, their loved ones and others in society with an irresponsible idiot int the White House encouraging such antics. With all the modern devices around us that makes it even easier to learn and know more, it is astounding that we so wilfully embrace a new dark age of ignorance, of superstition, of conspiracies, of magic thinking, preferring to dance to the tune of lunatic Pied Pipers: What we don’t see, hear or know, cannot hurt us.

So, folks drink from the poison chalice offered by that monstrous orange-headed narcissist without any awareness, it seems, that he is their enemy, that, even as he uses them, he holds them in contempt as mere toilers, dirt grubbers, hardworking scrabblers eking an existence far removed from his. Trump is right, they do not know their enemy; they refuse to see, hear and accept what is before them. Trump is a clown but he is theirs in the la la land of present-day America.

What do they see in him that they would surrender everything? Not just themselves and their future, but also possible generations to come. He is the man who will save them. That it is self-evident that he does not care one scintilla for them matters not a whit: he will lead them from the wilderness. They have surrendered completely to this “Grab them by the pussy” predator (his own words), this tax-avoiding business failure, this congenital morally bankrupt liar, this total incompetent who fails miserably as a feeling, empathetic life form in a shell resembling something human. His “leadership” during the pandemic has doubtless resulted in needless deaths. Yet they flock to him, hands outstretched as to a god figure, those millions who love America, quote the bible, go to church and engorge themselves like greedy pigs on every filthy, poisonous deed and sere word he extrudes. They applaud his perspicacity not only in defrauding them, taxpayers, into gifting him millions, but also in avoiding taxes because, as he put it, he is “smart”, ignoring the inference naturally flowing from that. 

These are the men and women who hate and mistrust government. Yet, when Trump was asked during the Presidential debates if he would condemn extremists such as the Proud Boys, he responded, “Stand back and stand by.” Right wing extremists heard that and were elated no doubt recalling Trump’s tweets of April 7, “Liberate Michigan” and “Liberate Virginia”. On October 8, the FBI arrested thirteen extremists for plotting to kidnap the governors of both those states. Yet, when prodded, Trump’s supporters deny any correlation between the three events. Fake news. If Trump loses the election, the presidency will have been stolen. They see conspiracy everywhere. Scientists are conspiring to take away their God given freedoms by recommendations they wear masks and social distance; Covid-19 is a gigantic Chinese hoax which, if real, is spread, by China, through cellphone towers; flu shots cause autism, and the Democrats are pedophilic Satanists plotting to overthrow, with violence, a legitimate government if Trump wins. For them, Trump, predator and misogynist, is as close to a god as any human could ever be. 

These are not just foolish die-hard-from-the-cradle-folk, they are stupid folk and dangerous to themselves and society. Oh, I know that’s not nice, but I have lost whatever tolerance I have had for stupidity and simply wish the idiots would collect their Darwin Awards and slip away unmissed by me, at least. 

Cold? You bet. But the streak of perversity pushing folks to willingly and consciously engage in reckless behaviour and vote for a moral imbecile, a narcissistic weakling, and an inarticulate blowhard liar while professing faith in a God and America when, apparently, they have lost faith in both, begs for retribution. That’s unlikely so I’ll vent. Common sense eludes them, they disbelieve what they see and hear even as it happens before them because they allow nothing to penetrate that wall of ignorance and denial shutting out the world that is from the world they live. Trump will save them. But from whom and what? Themselves? Stupidity? The socialist hordes? It is impossible to reach them even when the dangers posed by the choices they make are real and imminent. In a way, they are protected, living as they do in a world as real to them as the notion they are special and loved and will be protected by the very man who detests them even as he exploits and feeds into their fears. They know, just know, they are protected by a cloak of invincibility and the lasso of truth will help them to make us see they were right. 

Special? Yes indeed.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

HUBRIS AND STUPIDITY: TRUDEAU DOES IT AGAIN

Public office is the last refuge of the incompetent. – Boies Penrose

They are proud in humility, proud in that they are not proud. – Robert Burton 

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Justin Trudeau had it made. He became prime minister largely on his good looks, youth, charm, and oozing, simply oozing, sincerity. He was going to make a change with huge, loudly declared glorious promises, one of which, if followed through, might have changed Canada, parliament and the political landscape for the better forever. For those who wanted to believe in fairy tales, he was Prince Charming, the real deal, the man of vision, the man one could trust to accomplish great things. 

Not surprisingly, that was will-o’-the-wisp wishful thinking, the chimerical promise of the snake oil salesman. The big promises, one in particular, Electoral Reform, did not materialize, being lure to the braggadocio’s strut, the blowhard’s false promise of a hope so many yearned for believing it a remote possibility only to be left with the bitter aftertaste of betrayal upon having it proved true yet again. The pain of disappointment must surely have been acute for those who trusted him perhaps because they really believed in him and in the promise, believed in his claims of feminism and support of human rights, of finally healing the rift between First Nations peoples and Canada. He would help make Canada a better home for all. If so, how much sharper the ache when, put to the test, he walked away from promise after promise again and again beginning with his triumphant declaration that 2015 would be the last first past-the-post election ever and then, upon realizing the keeping of that promise would not allow him the outcome he so desperately wanted, he himself set about to undermine and kill the dream none had called for but fervently wanted saying of its death, “the public had lost interest”. It wasn’t true but we all knew then, or should have, what kind of man he was. 

He’s a feminist. He’s told us that often enough so why didn’t I believe him? Perhaps it’s because of the revelation of his groping a female reporter at a music festival when he was twenty-eight. Or it could be his failure to respond on two separate occasions when asked by reporters to comment on the taped recording of Trump trumpeting his misogyny saying only, “Everyone knows I’m a feminist”. Well, I don’t know that. Saying so doesn’t make it so. We know he is tolerant, anti-racist, and yet has attended events on more than one occasion in black face. No, I don’t believe Trudeau is a racist, but I do believe him very, very foolish. 

Too, his stand on human rights is of great concern. He believes in them as sincerely as Stephen Harper when Harper initiated the Saudi Arabia LAV (light armoured vehicle) deal. Just as did Harper, Trudeau ignored such concerns in spite of UN sanctions and Canada’s own laws regarding international trade with errant nations abusing human rights and Saudi Arabia is one such abuser and in a major way. When taking the moral high road is perceived as imperiling Canadian business interests and Canadian jobs, the moral high-road rarely merits more than lip service by such as Harper and Trudeau. With Harper, there was no surprise in this; he made no pretense of interest or concern in human rights while Trudeau campaigned on the promise of human rights being in the forefront. And then he got elected. If hypocrisy and shamelessness are requisites for a successful career in politics, Trudeau appears particularly adept in the practice of both. 

While no liberal and certainly contemptuous of conservatives, particularly those from the Harper era still infecting the political pool, I nevertheless had hoped for the best from Trudeau without believing we would get it. I could understand his draw and why so many fell for it; I just could not trust what I heard and saw. Sadly, upon taking office as Prime Minister, Trudeau very quickly confirmed my suspicions of him. Straw and empty charm. He believes his own press: he is loved by all and can do anything. Even so, the trail of broken promises in the wake of his first term did have a negative impact on his re-election bid allowing him a narrow victory with with a minority government.   

With all his baggage, I do believe Trudeau wishes to be the man we want him to be: caring, empathetic, sincere, decent, decisive, competent, and successful both as individual and as PM, one who actually will make meaningful contributions to Canada. But, for him, I believe, such traits, which he appears to confidently possess, are merely intellectual adornments, masks to be donned for whatever the occasion accompanied, as always, by the indicators of sincerity, furrowed brows and pursed lips; caring, empathy, and even sincerity cannot be learned but are characteristics bred to the bone. I don’t believe they are intrinsic to Trudeau. There is about him a coldness and calculation that should make those around him wary. He will throw them to the wolves as ruthlessly and as easily as he discarded liberal senators within weeks of taking office when he declared them no longer liberals. It was the loud, grand, even bold, gesture but meaningless and offensive in the publicness of the dismissals. Of his character, it was revealing; not only did it appear to me a particularly cruel way to do what he did, but the exultation he displayed following that was unseemly, his declaration to the world: I can be tough and ruthless as any man! He must have been thinking of Harper. But the move was blind achieving nothing. As easy to have a stranger declaring one cannot love whom one does.     

For Trudeau, there is more interest in the public perception of his image than the fact of it. He is not a bad man, I believe, at least not wholly, but he is too absorbed in the imagining and the work of convincing the pubic of himself as a good person than in the practicing of it. He will pander to all the touchstones that he perceives the public supports as good. If it catches the public’s attention as worthwhile and supportable, Trudeau is certain to be there. He is a politician, after all, with the unerring instincts of the predator honing in on the prey.

So, all the more puzzling his behaviour and involvement in the three breaches of conflict of interests that we know of. How could a man so smart be so stupid? Or am I giving him too much credit?

There was his acceptance of the free helicopter ride for family and friends from the Aga Khan while on a Christmas vacation. For years the Aga Khan’s charitable foundation has received millions from Canada and, following that trip, was promised even more.

Then we have the SNC-Lavalin scandal when Trudeau, a true believer in the “rule of law”, sought to subvert it to save SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based company, from a possible conviction for various criminal acts including bribery and obstruction of justice. Because of that interference, the Attorney-General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the first indigenous woman to achieve this post, was forced to step down because she would not help the company avoid prosecution. This led to the resignation of another extremely competent MP, Jane Philpott, in solidarity of her colleague. So much for his support of First Nations individuals, of feminism, and of the “rule of law”. For that imbroglio, he “refused to apologize for fighting to save Canadian jobs” because that was his job. Yes, it is, but, more importantly, his job is also to ensure the integrity of the courts and uphold “the rule of law” which he clearly sought to undermine and yet always references when it suits his needs.

But the liberal government’s decision to sole source $900K to the WE charity to which Trudeau, his wife, mother and brother have close ties, may be the one straw too many as the Ethics Commissioner launches yet another investigation into Trudeau’s shaky ethical world. Worse, for the liberals, the scandal has ensnared yet another high-profile candidate, the finance minister, Bill Morneau, whose two daughters have worked for the same organization. For both men, issues of ethics seem to be particularly irksome. When questioned whether he or any member of his family had financially benefitted from the ties, Trudeau, as did the charity, founded by Marc and Craig Kielburger, initially denied any such benefit only to recant that a day later claiming there had been an accounting error. Margaret Trudeau and Alexandre, Justin’s mother and brother received close to $300K from the charity. 

That there was no public bid for the contract, Trudeau claiming the WE organization was the only charity capable of distributing the money to student volunteer workers for up to $5K beggars belief. The United Way, for one, has been around for a lot longer than the organization founded by Trudeau friends. That Trudeau did not recuse himself from the selection process by civil servants also forces one to ask: What was Trudeau thinking? Did he really believe no one would question this? Said Alex Wellstead, spokesperson for the PMO, “What is important to remember is that this is about a charity supporting students.” No. What is important to remember is that Trudeau and Morneau did not recuse themselves from that selection decision which liberals claim was the recommendation of public servants. What is important to remember is that Trudeau, Morneau and members of their family have close, at times paid, ties to the charity. What is important to remember is that the selection process was neither open to public bidding nor transparent. And, while it is true that the WE charity refused to accept the funds, that decision was made only following the loud public outcry of disbelief and fury.

I cannot say I believe Trudeau to be a man of integrity. He may wish to be and he may wish us to believe he is but I have witnessed little evidence that convinces. From the first as Prime Minister, he and his colleagues have been plagued by issues of integrity often ignoring and skirting around questions regarding their many numerous and secretive fundraising endeavours at private homes or suggestive of conflicts of interest. Trudeau is flawed but not in the way that induces sympathy or even understanding. He seems to have been made drunk by the adoration of others who have fallen under a spell without understanding there appears to be no real there there. A straw man, he appears to need to be loved and yet would have, as he has demonstrated, little difficulty in throwing those very people who adore him, to the wolves if need be. In that way, he has much in common with Stephen Harper. But I believe Harper understands and accepts exactly who and what he is. Trudeau’s halo has long been tarnished and bent, yet he carries on convinced he is the one who has the attention of the public. He does. Covid-19 has allowed him to shine simply by throwing out billions of taxpayer dollars to the public, to businesses and to charities. Too, with the public preoccupied by the pandemic and all the attendant problems, he might have believed no one was paying attention. He tossed the coin and took his chance. This may be his undoing. 

Maybe the career choice of politician requires risk-taking. That’s a good thing when not foolhardy. Maybe the career choice also requires fluidity in matters of integrity, decency, and the ability to experience shame. If not the case, why have so few in recent years possessed so little of any of these traits? Is it truly all about the main chance?

While I do not share Anne Frank’s generous view of mankind (“In spite of everything, I still believe people are good at heart”), I don’t accept that entry into politics requires a propensity for dishonesty and/or self-enrichment. No one can be perfect but they can strive for it in the choices they make. One can talk of being ethical and of possessing integrity; that is Trudeau. Or one can be ethical and act with integrity. I prefer this camp. Unfortunately, those folks are long gone or no longer hold office. Deeds matter more than words. Ethics and integrity, honesty and decency, pride and humility are not cards to be called up or discarded to suit one’s time or needs. They should flow in the character of the individual as smoothly, as easily and as comfortably as blood through the veins. That is an ideal but that is what we should all strive for and demand of our politicians. 

There is too much venality in politics. Trudeau is just another example of the poor choices we make again and again. Politicians and voters do make mistakes. But when they repeat the mistake again and again, it is a habit and cannot be tolerated. Instead, we must take stock, look more closely at ourselves and our motives as well as at those running for office; we must vote with our minds questioning all the promises and challenging all the appeals to our biases keeping in mind those who, at the very least, have done their best not for themselves but for those who have placed trust in them.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

COVID-19, THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD AND RACISM

Racism is a grown-up disease and we should stop using our kids to spread it. – Ruby Bridges

We have two evils to fight, capitalism and racism. We must destroy both racism and capitalism. – Huey Newton

Frank A. Pelaschuk

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the world in almost all ways. Millions have become infected, and, as I write this, close to four hundred thousand have died. For Trump, this child in a man’s body, Covid-19 is reducible to a racist election blip, a “China” made disease that took American lives. 

It has made us aware of our own strengths and weaknesses and offered insight into the weaknesses and strengths of our varied health care systems. It has highlighted the virtues and hypocrisies of our politicians who, in daily briefings, express outrage and dismay accompanied by loud promises of swift corrective measures to fix the problems, many seemly insurmountable, while claiming to be as surprised as the public by the state of conditions of long-term care homes in which the elderly are shuttered away and who account for the largest number of dead, dying frightened and without family, neglected in filthy cockroach infested rooms, infected by bedsores exacerbated by the piss and shit they lay in as they wait for assist from harried, over-worked, undertrained and too, far too few, underpaid personal support workers. How can you trust the faux outrage expressed by the likes of Jason Kenney when he likens the pandemic to the flu and the deaths of seniors as a natural progression of the life cycle? You can’t. And how about Doug Ford, winning all kinds of accolades for his sombre, level-headed displays during his briefings. You hear it everywhere: Ford is doing a good job. Yes, he is: a snow job. It’s easy to be outraged when there are reasons, and there are: not just the death of seniors but the deplorable conditions endured by them. 

But Ford raising the finger and pointing to health officials, to their failings, gets to be a bit much when accompanied by a rage that never quite rings true. If he were totally honest, he would accept that a large share of the problems in Ontario’s healthcare is largely of his own making. It is also true that the problems are an accumulation of abuse and neglect by politicians who, for decades, have used education and healthcare as political footballs. The two most important institutions that should and must be supported, enhanced, and maintained have, with each successive regime, both been booted about as if unessential, incidental services. One gets the impression, especially regarding health, that all governments, particularly those of liberal and conservative stripes, are bound and determined to kill it by a million cuts in favour of privatization of health care hoping its slow death will inconvenience the public to the extent that it cries, Enough! and surrenders to the American style of care they neither want nor need. 

Almost from the very first, Ford and his government has gone after healthcare, health programs and health workers as if he and his crew held a personal vendetta. No apology for that. No admission over his role in the current state of affairs. Mournful expressions, faux rage ring hollow as do utterances of surprise when, for years, decades, there have been cries from frontline workers that they were being left behind, the system underfunded, over-burdened, under-staffed, and workers under-paid, and under-appreciated. It was this crisis that made governments take notice and that only when doctors spoke out publicly begging for protective equipment so that they and the healthcare community could be protected without risk to themselves and community. 

What followed should have surprised no one. Shock, cries of anger, loud voices raised in high dudgeon, disgust, promises, more promises, fingerpointing, promises. Cheap politicos doing what they do best: perform, outshouting others and promising money, money, money, in trying to save their asses and convince us they, and only they, can make the fix. 

So, who is responsible? Naturally, those cheap politicians, the Jason Kenneys, the Doug Fords, the Scott Moes and the rest of their ilk. But, bad as they are, the greatest portion of the blame must go to the voter who, with very few exceptions, is always eager to suspend his and her incredulity to buy from sleazy charlatans the cheap, shiny promises of tax cuts, more money in their pockets, less government, without ever, ever, questioning where the cuts will come from or what services will be lost. Well, we have a hint now, don’t we, the roosters, as they say, finally coming home. 

And, while it’s true Covid-19 has highlighted the very worst, it has allowed us to showcase the very, very best among us as well. We have suddenly discovered who the truly important folks are. They are not the founders of Apple or Amazon or Facebook. No, the truly important people are those who actually make this globe function as well and as smoothly as it does. They are the workers who are there when you really need them. That includes all frontline workers in health care systems, naturally, but also, the personal support workers, janitors, maintenance workers and cooking staff who keep the institutions operational. That includes municipal workers, grocery clerks, taxi drivers, pharmacists, personal support workers, police and fire men and women. The debt is immeasurable and the list is endless, but the point is, too many men and women work largely unseen, unrecognized, unappreciated and underpaid while living lives of quiet desperation trying to make ends meet keeping families and sanity functioning often working two or more jobs. We love, love, love them today. But, when it’s over, what then? Back to being forgotten, unappreciated, underpaid, still living lives of quiet desperation. 

With Covid-19, lives have been lost; routines in how we shop, communicate, socialize, work, play, and cope with social distancing have been disrupted. Some, doubtless, will have adjusted to and welcomed the opportunity for introspection while others, perhaps, have squandered the opportunity turning towards anger and resentment taking it out on their families and friends. Anxiety and self-doubt may lead some to succumb to fear, to doubt their own common sense and turn away from mainstream media and fact-based science to embrace something more comforting, that aligns with their own biases and superstitions, junk science and conspiracy hokum by those with agendas that thrive on fanning fear, misinformation, hate, and intolerance with a message that we are all victims of others: Big Governments, Jews, Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, and Papists, communists, etc. Name the thing you don’t understand and fear; it’s easier to play the victim, to blame others; you’re not responsible they are.

Of course, the pandemic is a fake event or, at any event, overblown. That’s the message we get from some. For Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president and denier of global warming and climate change, despoiler of the so-called “lungs of the world”, the Amazon Rainforest, the coronavirus is a minor blip that people should ignore as they carry on business as usual. His cavalier public appearances, unmasked and surrounded by supporters, is apparently an attempt (successful, if that’s possible) to outdo Donald Trump in the area of stupidity in leadership around the world. For Trump, very slow to respond to Covid-19 initially denying it was a real threat, no doubt concentrating on whether he should take insulin, the pandemic is a major irritant affecting the US economy easily solved with a couple of minor fixes: injections of hydroxychloroquine or Lysol. The first, an anti-malarial drug has not been tested for Covid-19 and is deemed unsafe, possibly deadly. In fact, immediately following his first public recommendation of the drug, a couple took up the challenge and died as a result. True believers of Trump, no doubt, and certainly Darwin Award winners. Trump’s recommendation of the disinfectant led to an outcry of ridicule followed by claims from Trump supporters that this was “fake” news disseminated by mainstream media which claim Trump himself inadvertently discredited by saying it was a question asked “sarcastically” to see how the media would respond. Yeah, right. Between Bolsonaro and Trump, narcissistic blowhards who imagine themselves geniuses and god’s invincible gifts to humankind, it’s difficult to imagine any other world leader more dangerous to their own or to the world. In the area of absurdity, neither need fear losing the race. But their words and deeds have consequences that will add to the burden of overstrained systems not only in health, but also in society generally threatening policing, justice, civil behaviour, our vision of democracy, governance and race relations.

Now Trump did not create racism. But he does add elements to it and there are far too many willing to take his lead. He thinks nothing of throwing out muck to see where it lands and what the reaction will be. In 2017, during the Unite the Right rally on Charlottesville, Virginia, when a white supremacist supporter drove a vehicle into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, injuring several and killing a woman, Trump’s response was not of condemnation of the racists and the killing but of soft-peddling what happened claiming the act an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides”. In other words, the racist white supremacist movement was as much a victim as those injured and killed! With that, you knew where Trump stood and from whom he sought support.  

His image has not improved since Charlottesville. With the riots following the May 26 arrest and public and painful asphyxiation death of George Floyd, black, compliant and in distress, pleading, “I can’t breathe,” his last words, Trump tweeted an infamous phrase dating to the time of the race riots of the 60s by a notorious Miami lawman, Walter E. Headley, during the race wars of the 60s, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Headley also boasted, “we don’t mind being accused of police brutality”. That was in 1967. That’s the thug for you and certainly Trump’s kind of man. Fifty-three years. So, what’s changed? 

The riots that followed Floyd’s death are disturbing, often beginning peacefully in many instances but by nightfall transformed into full-fledged acts of violence, rocks and bottles thrown at police and canisters of tear gas and rubber bullets turned on the protesters. It cannot be stated with certainty but, as with past experiences during peace marchers that degraded into violence, the cause of the turn to violence can be guessed. Outsiders, provocateurs from the alt-right with their own vile agenda of racial and religious intolerance, or just plain lowlife opportunistic thieves, thugs and jerks eager to disrupt and destroy, setting fires to cars and businesses that they loot. For those with an agenda, usually that of whipping up anti-black, anti-left, sentiment to more deeply entrench the impression too many are all too willing to embrace: this is what blacks and the left do, exploit a death as excuse to riot, loot, destroy and kill. It doesn’t help when videos appear lending credence to the stereotype showing thugs, many of them black, destroying property and running from burning buildings loaded with stolen goods. But what does, we hope, are those images captured of protesters, black and white, coming to the aid of two cops attacked by thugs and forming a protective circle around them. Racists will remain unmoved by this, consider such images of co-operative action as blacks currying favour from a liberal society and whites having sold out. 

In some quarters, there is justifiable anger over the silence from the White House following Trump comments that summon up more memories of the race riots of the 60s, threatening to set vicious dogs on the protesters whom he labels as anarchists and thugs; some are, but the majority are just decent folks who have had enough of police brutality, of white supremacists crying victimhood, of Donald Trump appealing to the very worst in voters while dismissing the history and pain of blacks, First Nations peoples and every other marginalized member that makes up America. With Trump, there is no attempt to reach out, to understand, to even appreciate what is happening. When he did reach out to the Floyd family, he apparently thought it a good call calling the Floyds “a terrific family”. But how could he know that when victim George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, stated “It was so fast, he didn’t even give me the opportunity to speak”? 

This is a man with so little in the way of intelligence, insight, ability or desire for self-examination and reflection, he pours gasoline on flames rather than considering the pause button. The rioting following the death of George Floyd, likely exacerbated by the heat, by all the anxiety surrounding Covid-19, the loss of jobs, the forced social distancing, the deaths which seems to target the poorest, including blacks, is likely good news for Trump allowing him to feed the fires of hate and intolerance which seems to be the makeup of a large segment of the Republican base. They are all victims. Lest there be any doubts, he avowed he will declare the ANTIFA (anti-facists), a leaderless movement of anti-fascist activists, a terrorist organization. Evidently the extreme-right, made up of thugs, racists, gun loving, government hating morons have a lot to fear and need protection. With Trump at the helm, Neo-Nazis and fascists need not worry. Even when they practice racial and religious hatred with thuggery, evidently, they’re not all that bad.

The rise of racism is extremely troubling, not because it’s a new phenomenon, it’s not, but because folks like Donald Trump and his sycophantic followers have unleashed the dogs giving permission to others to play the role of victim, to lay the blame of one’s own failure at another’s door often accompanied by disclaimers: “But I’m not a racist”. Of course, they’re not. The fat slob who dragged a befuddled senior in his nineties from a Vancouver corner store while hurling racial slurs was not a racist when he threw him on to the sidewalk. Nor was that punk, Vancouver again, when he punched an unsuspecting woman, another elder, in the head. Nor were Stephen Harper, Kellie Leitch, Chris Alexander, Andrew Scheer, and the rest of the Conservative gang when they promised to pass the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act in 2015 if re-elected. With that act, Harper and Conservative party targeted Muslims fomenting the flames of ignorance, fear, and intolerance. Harper and gang lost that election. Even so, that didn’t prevent Quebec’s François Legault, from pushing for and passing his own law in 2019 targeting Muslims, banning the wearing of religious symbols by public servants. I am confident he would say he is not a racist, as well. They just play to the victim sentiment who want to see the folks that screwed them punished. Naturally racism doesn’t enter into the picture. For the self-pitying victim, little persuasion is needed but affirmation of his suffering pleases. It’s nice to know one’s victimhood is acknowledged: You’re right, foreigners are taking your jobs, getting special treatment as your debts mount and your pain increases. It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to scrub piss from filthy washrooms, don’t want to clean up granny wallowing in feces as she whines and dies, don’t want to work fifteen hours doing farm work, that’s for others; we’ve got your back and just can’t have those swarthy, brown-skinned, foreign-speaking, turban-wearing, barbaric, blood-drinking pagans taking your God-given rights to a job, a decent wage, and our white, righteous way of life! And let’s not talk about our pure, white women which you and I know they all want! 

And, of course, we have another set of losers, the so-called members of the in-cel movement, those self-pitying sad-sack whiners who likely spend their days playing video games and their nights looking at their faces in the mirror and whining about not getting laid. But that’s understandable, it’s not their fault, boo-hoo-hoo. The women today are too picky; they don’t like polite young men who love their mothers (dog, cat, take your pick); they don’t like their own kind, they prefer the exotic, you know, blacks, foreigners, not good-looking white boys like you with your pimply face, whiney lips and snot of self-pity dripping down your shirt. It probably doesn’t occur to these losers that women may, just may, want more than boring, nice, stupid, uninteresting, excuse-making, shy, meek, unambitious, video-playing, self-pitying nerdish victims.   

There is too much time wasted on hate and blame. It’s time we all look at each other, look past the colours of our skins, look towards understanding our roles in this life. Why must we be enemies when friendship can offer so much more including security? What makes you so different from me? Or me you? Of what are we afraid when we look at each other? Why can’t I talk to you or you me without that tightness in the throat telling me I am afraid? And why do you fear me? What holds us back? What can we learn? 

Why should it be so difficult for one of us to say, “Tell me your story and, if you wish, I’ll tell you mine.” 

Who knows, we may have more in common than we believe. But, tell me how others have screwed you all your life? Not interested.

Update: Hours after posting this, Trump appeared on the White House lawn to finally address the interaction between protesters and police. He did not play the role of conciliator seeking a solution or co-operation. Instead, he labelled the protesters as largely ANTIFA, thugs, criminals in the brief statement in which he declared himself the “law and order” president, and that every state would call in the National Guards to impose curfews. Those states refusing to do so would be secured by the military. While this was happening, protesters nearby were forcefully cleared by guardsmen so that Trump could triumphantly walk from the White House to a nearby church where he could engage in a photo-op holding a bible. Not too subtle nor surprising but extraordinary nonetheless. If the black community and supporters hoped for something better, they must surely have been disappointed.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

DARWIN AWARD WINNERS: MARCHING TO STUPIDITY

 

Here is the true immorality: ignorance and stupidity; the devil is nothing but this. His name is Legion. – Gustave Flaubert

Stupidity is infinitely more fascinating than intelligence. Intelligence has its limits while stupidity has none. – Claude Chabrol

Frank A. Pelaschuk

LILLIPUTIANS

 Anyone watching the prime minister and the premiers offer their daily scrums updating citizens on the status of the Covid-19 pandemic might be favourably impressed. Not only do they come across as sincerely concerned public servants offering images of gravitas that, while sober, is not too much overdone. They mouth the appropriate words of praise not only for all frontline workers in healthcare but also those responsible for jobs most of us take for granted: personal support workers (PSWs), janitorial staff, grocery clerks, baggers, cashiers, bus drivers, well, anyone really, who place themselves out there silently and in the background, keeping societies going while possibly placing themselves at risk and often for little pay. The politicians all appear duly shocked, sickened, and appalled at the daily death toll particularly of the elderly in retirement and long-term care homes. It is as if they cannot believe the carnage caused by this pandemic, as if this is new and never to have been anticipated. They mutter of how changes for the care of our aged and sick must be made in both the public and private sector. They roll out programs, make changes and announce them with each passing day, their expressions suitably stricken. You know they mean it; know they believe it. But there’s a niggling question: will it last?

And then, kind of late, they begin to speak of the poor and homeless. This after they have thrown billions of cash in promises towards keeping businesses afloat through loans, grants, deferred taxes, rent subsidies, money for workers kept on the payroll. The list of aid to business and displaced workers meeting certain conditions is astounding. Then, among the leaders, who, no one knows, one takes notice and speaks of the homeless, of helping them and of course, not to be outdone, the others take up the call. But, as you listen, you realize, if all this money can be found this quickly, at this time, why not before? Why were people freezing to death on the streets, in back alleys? Why are the poor and homeless noticed now when, before this pandemic, not a nickel could be raised to house them? I don’t believe it’s really to find or create permanent housing for them but rather to warehouse them in temporary shelters to ensure these most vulnerable of people cannot spread the virus. These are throwaway people and if saving the economy means keeping them from harm, we’ll do so. When it’s all over, they’re on their own and we can congratulate ourselves on the lives saved as we shovel the meanest and poorest to the streets and back alleys where they belong.

And what of those PSWs who tend to those beloved but elderly folks shipped off into care homes, this largely anonymous hardworking, underpaid cadre of workers holding down two or more part time jobs as navvies feeding, bathing, changing diapers, wiping asses, of those too frail, disabled or demented to fend for themselves? Today they are noticed and daily praised for their courage and sacrifice and willingness to place themselves in danger neither the public nor politicians having noticed before that these very people, so beloved today, have no other option but to survive to feed their families. The truth is, this pandemic has made us see what we have never wanted to see before: there are those who from necessity are not too proud, too full of themselves, to not do what most of us would not.

Oh, yes, PSWs are finally getting recognized for their value. Changes have been made. They can no longer work at different homes where the elderly and needy are. Their pay has, in some provinces, been elevated to offset the loss of not being able to work elsewhere. Will this last? When this is all over, will we remember these heroic people? Will we value them as much tomorrow as we do today? I hope I am wrong but I think not.

In fact, almost all governments, mostly conservative, from federal to provincial, whether electioneering or not, the mantra has always been: cut government spending. And most do, with a meanness, spite and glee that should enrage most, using healthcare and education as political footballs. The public either ignores the cuts or adjusts and only notices at times like this. It’s madness. It’s predictable.

And it’s stupid.

YAHOOS

A sad fact is that, regardless of the situation, whether in political or public life, the stupid will always be with us. We see it in our leaders and the people who support them. Science has been reduced to quackery, history to mockery, and facts to farce.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Yahoos have taken over. They resist authority and common sense swarming on to our streets screaming against measures to eradicate the virus and protect society as infringements to their “civil rights”. They demand that the government reopen the country for business and insist Covid-19 is a “Chinese” disease or, even worse, a hoax, a government conspiracy. They do not explain how that is or why. They are not massive in numbers, but stupidity makes them dangerous. They appear in various pockets across the country waving offensive signs and are a loud, obnoxious bunch popping up in the dozens apoplectic as they hysterically vent the imagined wrongs inflicted on them by Big Government. Everything is a conspiracy, you and I and governments are out to get them. How it is or why they don’t explain, they just know it’s so; their civil rights are being trampled under the guise of health and safety. They are victims. So, they wave placards saying: “Isolate if you want, Freedom is my choice” the crowning touch signs whining about not being able to get haircuts!

The Yahoos offer no argument for their cause, present no evidence for what they say, and none, apparently can see the inherent contradictions even in their paranoia. No one would deny them the right to be stupid; they’ve likely have been so all their miserable self-pitying lives. But no individual “right” can, nor should, be so absolute that it places others at risk and that is what these public Yahoo gatherings do.

But there are also images of sanity, of masked heath care workers in scrubs squaring off against vehicles filled with ugly redneck anti-shutdown protesters screaming that those workers go to China if they want communism. These images of heroic workers standing against stupidity are reminders of another monumental image, that of a lone Chinese man facing off against an army tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The tank driver blinked and retreated. That lone man squaring off against tyranny is imprinted forever in my mind! Those health care workers squaring off against stupidity, is another image!  Both then and now, we are offered glimpses of courage standing against brutality and the brute. For the health care workers, I fear their brave stand will come to naught; there is no limit to stupidity. The resistance to social distancing in the name of civil rights is laughable if not imbecilic and self-destructive. For the exhausted doctor or nurse having treated Covid-19 victims day and night and watching too many die who wanted only to live, the temptation would surely be great indeed to allow infected Darwin winners to reap exactly what they sow.

Harsh? Yes. Frontline workers already risk too much; what better cure for stupidity.

Today we love all physicians, nurses, kitchen, cleanup and volunteer staff, grocery clerks, service workers, as well as hydro, fire, police workers and personal support workers while we stay safely at home. But tomorrow? I suspect we will forget all this. We will not notice the grocery bagger unless to complain about how he or she messed the job; we will yell at the cashier who made a typo in ringing up the bill and will spit on the bus driver who refuses you a free ride or demands you put out that cigarette. Life rolls on. Nothing will change.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

 

 

BLACKMAILING CANADA TO SUBMISSION: JASON KENNEY’S WESTERN SEPARATIST CARD

One of the greatest distinguishing marks of false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear, he will never rain on your parade; he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like six flags over Jesus. – Paul Washer

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta says he is a proud Canadian. But I ask, how can that be true when he foments western alienation squealing victimhood of a cabal made up of a federal government aligned with eastern provinces to rob Alberta blind, to suck it dry, to grind it down and to spit it out. While such claims that Albertans are targets of a vast conspiracy for whatever reason by envious other provinces and a federal government with a hatred for Alberta in particular may strike some as exaggerated and puzzling, there is a belief in some quarters, mostly justified, that Quebec has been conferred a uniquely favoured status above all other provinces by every federal government since confederation, all forty-three under conservative and liberal banners. If there is envy, there is also anger. Alberta feels as if the unloved child neglected and ignored. But it is the east, that is, every province east of Manitoba, and the federal government which resides in Ottawa, that is the source of most of their anger. Albertans feel they are not viewed and treated as legitimate offspring and, of course, they have the likes of Kenney and Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe to whip up the fires of western discontent confirming such while rabid conspiracists, like Peter Downing, the co-founder of the so-called Wexit movement (get it, nudge, nudge?) act as stooges shouting hysterically, “We are going to do for Western Canada, and Alberta in particular, what the Bloc Quebecois does for Quebec. The only difference is that we are cutting the parasite of Eastern Canada off from our necks. We are cutting this parasite off from your wallets” (Maclean’s, Jen Gerson, Nov. 7, 2019).

 

Hyperbolic and disturbing as is the language, what is equally troubling is the anger fuelled by folks seemingly with agendas of their own that appear poorly formed and ill-conceived. For most westerners, even Albertans, I suspect, if asked, they would not be able to offer a satisfactorily coherent picture of what it is they are angry about. Yes, they would be able to talk of jobs lost, of companies moving elsewhere, of people really suffering through hard times. But is that all the fault of the rest of Canada, an indifferent federal government and an indifferent populace? Do those crying Wexit not accept that the times and world is changing and they must also change or lose out? Do they not understand that much of their problems are of their own making and limited focus?

It’s true, we cannot just suddenly shut off the taps to those provinces reliant on oil and gas. But those provinces must also understand that change must take place, is inevitable, if this troubled planet is to survive. If we do not look for other sources of energy, if we do not look towards new models for success, growth and sustainability, if we as a community do not do more towards saving this precious world, all discussion will be meaningless and the end not too far off from now. Turning away from a bad situation solves nothing. Not working towards change but sticking to what we have and know is surrender and suicidal. Blaming others for most of the problems of our own making does little to resolve the fix we are in. Peter Downing and his ilk contribute nothing meaningful nor worthwhile to the dialogue. They feed anger but offer no solution; how does that work for anyone?

For Albertans and Saskatchewanians, most notably with the leadership they have, playing the role of victim is daily fare they wake to and sleep by. That is not an affirming approach to life that adds meaning or hope. Instead of whining, there must be concerted effort to work together to make change that is constructive and rehabilitative. The planet is dying and we must contribute towards its healing. From the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, there must be more than the whine that they have and do contribute more to Canada and yet their share of the pie is less than that of the others. That is not helpful. We must work to ensure that everyone, everyone, gets a slice of the pie. We have too much of the Kenney, Moe and Doug Ford types who are bundles of festering resentment concerned only with their tiny fiefdoms and feathering their nests rather than genuine leaders willing and eager to work towards a whole, better, more effective nation. We do not need these types with their mean-spirited tax-cutting public-servant-chopping ways and we don’t need citizens whining about paying taxes yet demanding more and more of the services we demand and need. We want it all but too many do not wish to pay their share. We are in it together and it’s time we recognize and accept that. That’s how we survive.

Those who talk of walking away from Canada are contemptible. They have no loyalty except to their imagined martyrdom or despotic yearnings. If Albertans did break away, what then? How long before they once again are moved by that vague discontent but now with their own new found nation, Albertastan? Would there then be an endless succession of fragmentation into newer, ever greater numbers of separatist groups wanting to abandon their ever diminishing newly minted nations with each self-rendering until sundered to microscopic independent cantons eventually reduced to nothing but a vast empty wasteland? One wonders how much of their anger has been thought through. It’s one thing to be angry but it’s another to walk away enraged without a plan. What guarantees will there be that you will be satisfied with your slice of the pie? And what if you get no slice or there is no pie; what then? Empty promises by false prophets lead nowhere.

There are those who decry that Quebec’s Yves-Francois Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Quebecois, a party whose very raison d’etre is separation, seems to get an easier ride than Alberta’s Kenney. There is evidence that may be true, as we see with Quebec’s Bill-21 and its vile racist and religious message and with Trudeau’s efforts to intervene with the rule of law in an effort to have the Director of Public Prosecutions offer the Quebec engineering giant, SNC-Lavalin, a deferred prosecution agreement rather than face trial and a possible criminal conviction for corruption and bribery. Clearly Quebec does appear to receive preferential treatment to save Quebec jobs. For that, the blame rest squarely with weak federal leaders (conservatives and liberals) who continue to pander to the worst in Quebec society and do not condemn that piece of legislation while also hoping to win electoral support by demonstrating a williness to do almost anything, including pervert justice, to save Quebec jobs. Those who have lost jobs elsewhere are understandably enraged with the perception of Quebec’s much favoured status. However, those waving the cudgel of separation, whether in Quebec or the western provinces, to blackmail Canada into acquiescence to demands that are unreasonable and divisive seem guided not by intelligence or belief but by motives absolutely indecently selfish and parochial. While I would prefer the unruly children act like adults to resolve their problems with federation, there is little accommodation that can be achieved if they insist on having their way in everything and are willing to risk independent economic suicide. You can’t force a wayward child to love its parents.

And that’s how I see those folks talking of walking out: Kenney and Moe have no business acting the role of parents when their behaviour is clearly that of petulant children who believe everyone is out to get them.

So, what is Kenney’s plan, really, or even Moe’s, though it seems Kenney is doing the most whining, excuse me, talking? Does he have one or is he just a bag of chinook wind spewing gas that his supporters insist on inhaling as some eternal truth: Albertan’s are getting screwed, the federal carbon plan is a hoax just like climate change, the equalization programme benefits other provinces particularly Quebec at the expense of Albertans who pay more than their share and pulls more than their weight.

Break away from Canada to where and what? Both Alberta and Saskatchewan are landlocked. With whom would they trade and what incentive would the rest of Canada have to deal with the new found State? Absolutely no incentive. How would Alberta, led by a silly little man with no ideas, pay for their share of the national debt before being allowed to leave? Would Kenney and his fellow separatists find the wherewithal to set up its own government, currency, pension plan, and programmes such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, interprovincial transportation, policing, border security? It’s feasible that this newly independent State might be welcomed with open arms with all the baggage of discontent its citizens bring rather than just for its oil resources before Albertans realize that things might not have changed all that much after all. They will not know until too late when there is no possibility of turning back. How long would it be before they begin whining over the same things that caused them to leave in the first place: not getting a larger slice and paying more than their fair share?

Kenney is not a man or leader anyone can trust. He is a man uncomfortable in the presence of truth or speaking it. This is the man who, while in Harper’s cabinet as Minister of Employment and Social Development, oversaw the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) which encouraged Canadian businesses to hire foreign workers at below rates paid to Canadian workers! This until forced to make changes when the news became public. All this to say that Kenney is no friend or ally to Canadian workers or Albertan workers but rather friend and ally to Big Business and self-promotion and self-interest. He certainly is no friend to Canada or even Albertans except as a stepping stone to a creation of his own little fiefdom where everyone will love the man until they wake up and wonder what they had done to themselves.

Kenney is the pied piper to ruin. He is a little narcissist with whine and a fiddle and it’s the people of Alberta getting played.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

 

THE 43RD SUICIDAL REVOLVING DOOR WALTZ: THE CANADIAN PASTIME OF VOTING STUPID

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner. – James Bovard

Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender.– Keith Ellison

Frank A. Pelaschuk

On October 21st, nothing will change. That’s a guarantee. Canadians will vote liberal or conservative but, with recent revelations regarding Justin Trudeau, conservatives may now have the edge. With a few exceptions, voters will look to no one else as they have for 42 elections and one of those two parties will take its place to govern the nation as they have for 152 years. The 43rdwill hold no surprises not even if and when the new party of anti-immigrant sentiments with a membership largely of discontented racial and religious intolerants led by a disgruntled former conservative member of parliament takes a riding or two. If that happens, most of us will cluck, say that’s an aberration, that’s not Canada, that’s not who we are. Others may demur, say It is, but let’s not dwell on it, at least we’re not Americans. We puff up our virtues and ignore our deficits. While I hope not, I know Canadians will vote stupid this time too doing the same old same old saying, perhaps even some believing it, though how if any had a brain, “We have no choice but to vote for one of those two; voting NDP or Green is a wasted vote.” The only thing wasted is the source of such utterances. What makes it worse is we have a system that, in almost all instances if not all instances, permits 35 to 40 per cent of the vote “for” to outweigh 60 to 65 “against”. Yet we refuse to embrace a system of voting used by almost every democratic nation whereby every vote counts. Occasionally, politicians will offer hope of change as did Trudeau then proceed to sabotage the promise, as did Trudeau, when it is apparent the outcome will not go as they would have wished.

With every campaign, the promises are bigger and better than the last as are the lies we swallow and the bitterness we experience with each broken promise and whopper exposed. Nothing will be new, better, more open or more transparent nor will voters experience shame any more than previously for their role in this sham song and dance of the revolving door that allows entry to members of only two parties at the exclusion of all others. Before long, after the results are counted, some may feel used – for a microsec – with the victorious politician claiming vindication while the losers, wounds licked, begin planning for the next kick at the can. Next time will be better, just wait and see. For a spell, voters will plant themselves in a corner and examine the cheap sparkly baubles that bought their votes and be content for a time not wanting to admit to themselves, at first, they’ve been had once again and for so cheaply in the same old way with the very same stale promises and often by the same smooth-talking snake oil tinhorns. When they finally do admit what happened, and when the rage begins to boil, they nod and tell themselves in three, four or five years, they can hardly wait, they’ll do it all again only this time, this time, it will be different.

It never is, of course. We see it now, politicos on the hustings spending billions in promises to be broken and slinging mud. You’ll hear the chorus of voices, liberals, conservatives, greens, Bloc, the NDP, the PPC wanting your vote and donations. But the majority will hear only two and opt for the one over the other. Things will be different. Hope has no more limits than stupidity.

Oh, yes, in your heart of hearts, after ten years of mean-spirited conservative rule, you ached for change, or so you told yourself. You grew tired of Stephen Harper and gang, tired of ten years of endless efforts to slip laws buried into omnibus bills in hopes they’ll go unnoticed and heartily sick of conservative efforts to rig elections with robocalls, of illegal campaign spending, of skirting election laws, of attempts to disenfranchise voters and to weaken the scope of the Chief Electoral Commissioner’s ability to investigate suspected election fraud. You had enough of Harper and Jason Kenney, his then minister of employment, pulling off such stunts as encouraging companies to hire foreign workers under protection of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program at 15% below that of Canadians doing the same work. You had enough of them lying about it and lying to you and you wanted to believe that Trudeau and the liberals would not only be a refreshing change but also new, different, better, more open and transparent exactly as they promised and exactly as Harper promised for all those years before. But in your heart of hearts, did you really believe they were new, better, or held any promise? Or where you simply too scared to look beyond those two parties in whom you have always put your faith and who have always failed you? Could you not even bring yourself to look at the NDP or the Greens, to open you mind and hearts and hear them out, perhaps even believe it possible that, this time, it just might be different? Certainly you’re not tired of saying that to yourself because you’ll do the same again.

Of course, you couldn’t, wouldn’t. You have closed your ears, minds and hearts, ignored your better instincts, preferring the easy seduction of the tried, tired and unfaithful succumbing to Trudeau’s slick charm and boastfully grand promises only to quickly find out how consummate a manipulator he and his crew were and how little they really believed in the vision they offered. Not only did they lie about almost everything, they were often shameless enough to admit they had no difficulty in walking away from some of those promises as the Prince had when he tried to stack the committee looking into electoral reform, “the last ever first-past-the-post” he had gushed 2015. But when stacking the deck failed, Trudeau worked even harder at undermining his own program saying Canadians “were no longer interested” without offering evidence of such. Maryam Monsef, then minister of democratic reform, and her replacement, Karina Gould, were thrown under the bus, Monsef for saying the committee members hadn’t worked hard enough (i.e., to find a reason to offer Trudeau’s preference of electoral reform) which led to a public storm of anger and Gould for finally being the one driving a stake through reform’s barely beating heart after a brief, final pretence of working towards reform. Trudeau was not only unapologetic for betraying the promise, he boasted of pride in doing so at a town hall meeting. Unfortunately, since electoral reform was his baby, the one he was so loud in promising and promoting, he demonstrated exactly what he is when the initiative was killed off. It was not the father, not the creator, who killed reform or announced its death. Instead, he allowed two neophyte members, females at that, to carry that burden and take the fall for its failure. Jeremy Thorpe might have been thinking of someone like Trudeau when he wrote: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his political life.” That would not be the last time Trudeau would do such.

In the past, I have posted my long-held belief that the Trudeau the public sees is all façade. I have never believed what I saw and was puzzled why others were so blind. It was not just his reversal on electoral reform but his loud, boastful announcement that electoral reform would happen that set off alarms. There was too much swagger, too much boast, too much smug assurance. I hoped he would let it happen but did not believe he would. With that, all doubts of him as a phoney, if I had doubts, were swept away.

But his secret fundraising meetings, the efforts made to hide them and the lies he uttered to justify them and then later retracted, his lax attitude towards conflicts of interest by senior members of cabinet in contradiction of his own orders in his so-called mandate letters troubled me not only because they happened but because they happened so early into his first term as PM. He was found guilty, twice, of ethical breaches. The had never happened to a PM before. The first for accepting a free helicopter ride from the Aga Khan while on Christmas vacation. Later, we would learn the Aga Khan foundation would receive additional taxpayer funds in the millions for another five years. Then came Trudeau’s efforts to pervert the course of justice and undermine the independence of the Director of Public Prosecutors, Kathleen Roussel, when he sought to pressure the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to intervene in the trial of engineering giant and Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin for bribery and corruption. It is this scandal that offered a totally brutal take of Trudeau and the lengths to which he would go to not only ensure the health and welfare of Big Business but also of the liberal party fortunes. Heavily lobbied by the company, Trudeau slipped the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) into the 2018 Budget. The budget was presented as an omnibus bill a practice made an art by Stephen Harper and roundly condemned by Trudeau who vowed to bring to an end because it allowed governments opportunity to sneak laws into legislation in hopes the public and the opposition would not notice. Well, that was another promise broken and for those with a propensity to do things in the dark, such as Harper and Trudeau, it is an excellent tool to accomplish what you hope no one discovers. As a consequence of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Jody Wilson-Raybould, in refusing to intervene on behalf of the company because the independent DPP believed there was no grounds to not proceed with the trial, was shuffled to Veterans Affairs. She was the first First Nations member and third female to hold the role of Attorney General and Justice Minister; the shuffle made no sense and surely would risk the ire of the indigenous community. When she resigned from cabinet, she was followed by Jane Philpott, recently appointed as President of the Treasury, in solidarity. Trudeau wasted little time in undermining both women, questioning their loyalty (to him and the party) and their abilities, particularly that of the former Justice Minister. Once again, two cabinet members, again women, experienced the brunt of the fallout, their political careers in tatters all in the service of Justin Trudeau who had lied throughout the scandal about what he had and had not done. Wilson-Raybould and Philpott have survived, their images enhanced. Trudeau? Not so much.

Trudeau has often and loudly been boastful of his feminism and points to his gender balanced cabinet. That’s good. But does that really bolster his claim? Not if one looks at how he treated MPs Monsef, Gould, Wilson-Raybould, Philpott. Nor does Trudeau fare any better when we look back to when Trump’s so-called “Pussy Tape” recording became public during the American presidential campaign. Trudeau was offered two opportunities at the least to prove his credentials as a feminist when asked to comment on Trump’s vile, misogynistic remarks. Trudeau refused to unequivocally condemn them saying everyone knew his approach to feminism. Yes, we do. He uses feminism as a flag to be waved when he stands to benefit. But because he was in the midst of the NAFTA negotiation and knowing Trump’s propensity to strike back, the loud feminist retreated; the flag went to his pocket. Then it gets worse. A news story broke of a past event involving Trudeau and a female reporter. While attending a music festival in British Columbia in 2000, Trudeau, 28, was accused of groping the reporter. He apologized, according to an editorial in a local newspaper, saying, “I’m sorry. Had I known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.”!!!

So, it was wrong because she was a reporter. But it suggests that if the woman had been Ms. Nobody from Nowheresville, he may have acted differently. Well, that didn’t hurt him but the latest reveal from a Time magazine article on September 18, 2019 of him wearing blackface for an Arabian Nights themed gala in 2001, may result in a different outcome. While prompting a response of apology from Trudeau, who did admit to other instances of wearing blackface, this episode has thus far not prompted him enough to do to himself what he demands of Scheer.

Throwing mud goes both ways but shows most noticeably on those who pontificate from some absurd and lofty aerie on their virtues that later prove far less than advertised.

Human rights? Same thing. By Trudeau’s light, such concerns can also be played with. The health and welfare of business interests, masquerading as a duty and desire to protect Canadian jobs, has been and is a major preoccupation for the liberal leader especially if the jobs are in Ontario or Quebec and Big Money is talking. So, it is no stretch for Trudeau to go against UN sanctions and to disregard Canada’s own laws regarding trade with one of the worlds worst human rights abusers by signing off on the Saudi Arabia $15 billion Light-Armoured Vehicle deal involving about 3,000 Ontario jobs. The deal, begun by Stephen Harper’s conservatives, got the liberal pass with Trudeau offering all kinds of phoney excuses for putting human rights on the backburner. When challenged on this, Trudeau, sounding much like the pampered brat caught with his hand in the cookie jar defiantly offered several takes: the deal was already a done deal; my hands were tied by the previous government; I didn’t want to risk Canada’s reputation as a trading partner that can’t be trusted. It’s not my fault, that bad man Harper made me do it.It’s about Canadian jobs and votes and liberal fortunes in the polls, not so much about saving Canada’s trade reputation. Jean Chretien had little trouble breaking a lucrative helicopter trade deal when he was in office. Canada took a hit in penalties with its reputation as trading partner relatively undiminished.

Trudeau knows all the right feel-good buttons to push. He oozes charm and sincerity. But there is a darker, more unpleasant side to him which occasionally forces its way to the surface. And that side is deeply disturbing. I am not convinced he is a racist as some suggest but I do believe he is extremely arrogant and lacks sound judgement and his failures in this have been too many.

SO, ABOUT THOSE OTHERS  

But if Trudeau is stooge for corporate interests while at the same time appealing performer of feel-good slogans and promises for the masses swayed by surface glitz rather than ideas and deeds, if he is a shameless hypocrite with fluid ethics, is Andrew Scheer, Stephen Harper lite, a better option? For ten years, he was a member of Harper’s cabinet and, as such, the most common and best thing said of him was that he smiled at lot. As the Speaker of the House, always smiling, he was less than objective, once even suppressing documents for several weeks, regarding requests from the Chief Electoral Commissioner that two candidates temporarily step down while investigated for campaign expense irregularities. As opposition leader, he has an uncanny knack for bitching about everything without ever coming up with an idea worth hearing let alone even consider. For him, the exposure of the Trudeau blackface photograph must seem heaven-sent offering him the pleasurable experience of schadenfreude. If so, let him enjoy for a bit but he best not rely on that alone to win the confidence of voters to hand him the top job in Canada. For Scheer and the conservatives have filth of their own to shed.

In 2015, Stephen Harper’s conservatives, of which Andrew Scheer was a prominent if undistinguished member, campaigned stoking the flames of fear, suspicion and hatred seeking votes by any and all foul means possible the most notable and offensive of which was the promise of creating the Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line targeting you know what group. It was disgusting and it was racist. Conservatives clearly had no qualms at the time to appealing to the worst instincts in us and I can recall no conservative voice, let alone Scheer’s, raised in denunciation of such a program. Instead, as we watch Scheer’s campaign during the first week, we see that, again, conservatives have decided wallowing in the gutter and appealing to the worst is better than ideas, light and air. Once again they campaign with the tactics of thugs smearing opponents with stories filled with lies and misinformation when not completely fabricated: Trudeau schmoozing with Faith Goldy, the white supremacist alt-right fan and former employee of the Ezra Levant anti-immigrant Rebel Media; Justin Trudeau prepared to accept child killer and pedophile from the U.K.; the RCMP confirming Trudeau is under investigation regarding SNC-Lavalin. During the Harper years, the conservatives spent too many years in the sewer. Evidently, they are reluctant to leave the warren they call home, though, it must be said, the liberals also seem to prefer muck from the same swamp. The videos of conservative candidates mouthing anti-immigrant and racially intolerant views is the past, made public by courtesy of the liberals, need more than slaps on the wrists. Such views seldom go away, even with maturity. Yet those candidates have apparently received a free pass from Scheer. All they need do is say, “Sorry”. Evidently, it’s okay to be a bigot as long as you’re quiet about it – for now. Hardly surprising from an individual who cut ties with the anti-immigrant Ezra Levant Rebel Media only when he was shamed into doing so. That, alone, should be reason enough not to cast a vote for conservatives.

I have no quarrel with Elizabeth May and the Green Party whom the media insists on painting as leftist and progressive. If that is so, I am Mahatma Gandhi. While I do support her climate change concerns and laud some of her proposals, I find myself unable to trust Ms. May herself. Early in her campaign, when asked whether she would allow members of her cabinet opposed to abortion to revisit the issue, she struggled seeming unsure of her own party’s stand on the matter saying she would because she had no power in the party to whip them or to silence them though she would attempt to persuade them not to raise the matter. Hours later the Green Party issued a statement that there was “zero” chance of abortion being raised even though it was true the leader has no power to whip votes. For the Greens, all candidates must support the party line of the right of choice for women. That May appeared rattled by a question simply presented and seemed not to know her role offers no assurance that her narrow focus is sufficient reason to recommend her to lead a party let alone a nation. I foresee a further unraveling of the Green promise in which so many are willing to place their hopes as she and the party become subject to greater scrutiny. The Greens have been very influential in Europe and have often proven themselves more pragmatic than principled: they make promises from the left but, once elected, often side with those on the right. I cannot trust them and have no reason to thus far.

I have little to say regarding Maxime Bernier leader of the newest Canadian party of bellicose wedge issue politics that draws the self-indulgent malcontents and wallowers of victimhood and haters the way light does moths. It is doubtful that there is a finger pointer, racist or immigrant hater that he would turn away. If Bernier has anything of worth, they are as clear as the mud under the shoes he wears and in the ideas he and his supports espouse. To me, he offers no credibility though I know some yahoos may find his thoughts appealing because, as conservatives often do, Bernier seeks to exploit our worst instincts. It’s not a party of hope or opportunity but of victimhood and despair, anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-tolerance. Allowing him to partake in the election debate serves no useful purpose but to validate the rampant paranoia of its core supporters.

As for Jagmeet Singh and the NDP, I do have high hopes. The NDP is the party of hope, opportunity and possibility. Though I suspect that, articulate and talented and full of ideas as he is, he doesn’t have a hope of leading the country. Canadians will not say it, would likely even deny it, but many, far too many, will not hear him out, will not listen to him, will not even see him. All they will see is his turban. He and the NDP are full of ideas and almost all doable. True, they will cost money but they will also benefit every segment of society particularly those who have the very least. We all benefit and if it doesn’t’ put money in your wallet as conservatives and liberals promise, it will not cost you as much when your well-being is protected head to toe. With the NDP platform everyone will have a share of a better life and the very wealthy will finally be accountable for paying their fair share. Singh is not a perfect man. I am still unhappy with how he handled the matter of Erin Weir and Christine Moore. Weir deserved better and I hope that day comes. But Singh has been, thus far, the only one talking ideas, speaking of healthcare and societal needs with a real plan to take on climate change, affordable housing, potable water for our First Nations community. I have not seen nor heard him or the party slinging mud but stating facts. That’s legitimate. But look at him and his response when the issue of Trudeau’s blackface pictures came to light. Unlike Scheer, who denounced Trudeau, Singh almost immediately and before the media, addressed the nation rather than Trudeau and talked of the personal experiences and the hurt of being a target of racism. Thus far, he opted to talk of intolerance in broad terms rather than use it as a hammer against an opponent who, years ago, committed himself to doing an incredibly offensive act not once but several times. This is a man who, during the debates and on this terrible day for an opponent, behaved in a way that, dare I say, was prime ministerial.

Canadians will on this 43rdelection be offered the opportunity to commit to real change. They had it last time and many other times in the past. They refused to dare, to challenge themselves and the status quo.

It is not enough for voters to say they want something new, different and better. It is not enough to say you want politicians who are decent and honest. We must seek them out and open the revolving door so that it allows all members from all parties to walk through them. Doing what we have done for the past 152 years 42 times with expectations that outcomes will be different without recognizing other possibilities meets Einstein’s definition of insanity

We imagine ourselves thinking beings capable of change, real change. Let us prove that we are. Look at the conservatives and liberals. Do you feel you are better off? Are you not tired of health and education being used as footballs to be kicked around, tinkered with while the sick and elderly overflow hospital hallways? Why have no liberal or conservative governments moved to provide our First Nations people with better housing and drinkable water? Why have they done nothing about housing the homeless?

Just look at the NDP and Greens but more closely at the NDP. Consider them in their totality. We cannot just go with a party of one issue but a party of inclusion ready to work on all the issues that must be considered for a fully functioning society and a better life for all. The day after the blackface story broke, I received a copy of a Jagmeet Singh letter. I offer an excerpt: “There are millions of people in Canada – kids, young people, newcomers to our country – who have been bullied, hurt, attacked, and insulted because of who they are. These photos bring that into focus. 

I faced racism growing up. And I dealt with it by fighting back – sometimes with my fists. But not everyone is able to do that. Many feel powerless – intimidated into a sense of not belonging.

I want to say to the people who’ve felt that pain – you are loved, you have value, you have worth – and we can and will do better for you.

Today I want to ask Canadians not to lose faith in our great country. The last 24 hours have been difficult and so will the coming days. But, remember this – you belong, and together we can fight for a Canada that rejects racism and discrimination. Together, we can fight for a Canada where we are celebrated for who we are, and where we take care of each other.”

What do you think? Look at Mr. Singh again. Ignore the turban, open you mind and heart and hear him, really hear him. You may be pleasantly surprised if you open the door to the NDP and the Greens. You may also be disappointed but you, at least and at last, will have dared to expand your horizon and see a little more of what good things await you.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

 

CAUGHT! JUSTIN TRUDEAU’S SHAMELESS, UNAPOLOGETIC ETHICAL FAILURES

Politicians were mostly people who’d had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers.– George R.R. Martin, Ace in the Hole

I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.– Charlie Chaplin

Frank A. Pelaschuk

I have said in the past that Trudeau must be the sorriest leader on the planet. I was referring of course to his penchant for apologizing for almost everything. There is nothing wrong with that, but the list seems endless and the act wearying smacking as it often does more of the opportunistic seizing of the photo-op moment than of sincerity. Too, there were moments missed, when he could have, should have, apologized but didn’t. As when he offered the tantalizing prospect of electoral reform and seemed committed to it until caught stacking the deck when he formed the committee to make recommendations. Before long, he began in earnest to undermine the committee when it appeared certain they would make a recommendation not to his liking muttering the public had lost interest in reform and when, in fact, they did make a recommendation excluding his preference of the ranked ballot vote, he drove a stake through the heart of the idea and later, during a town hall meeting declared it didn’t bother him a bit to walk away from it. That is the real Trudeau, the petulant minor figure who, not getting his way takes home the marbles. He’ll apologize when the cause is easy, appealing, and works to his benefit but, when not, will as quickly abandon them loyal to none but one: himself.

Trudeau cannot be trusted with much. His claims of feminism ring hollow to me. It is not enough to have a balanced cabinet. What is important is to stand up when it matters. He failed to do that when asked about a released recording during the presidential election campaign clearly outlining Donald Trump’s vile misogynistic views, declaring everyone knew where he stood and it was not Canada’s policy to comment on American politics. He was given an opportunity to redeem himself later but failed once again using the same words. He failed to apologize then and hasn’t since. Nor did he for signing off on the Light Armoured Vehicle deal with Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world, turning his back on Canada’s own laws as well as UN sanctions regarding trade with human rights abusers even though he, as opposition leader, hotly contested the deal. Instead, he came up with excuses, much the way a child does, for why he signed off on the LAV deal: the deal was all but done by Harper when the liberals took office; he could not risk Canada’s reputation as a trading partner not to be trusted should he break the deal. That was a joke, of course, we’ve done it before, most recently when Chretien was in office. It was everyone’s fault but Trudeau’s that the deal went through. He had turned his back on human rights, but don’t expect apologies for that. Canadian jobs were at stake and so was big money. Pragmatism must never be hindered by principle.

When the SNC-Lavalin affair broke ending with the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould, justice minister and attorney general and Jane Philpott in support, Trudeau, in February of this year, declared his concerns where Canadian interests and Canadian jobs and that her decisions regarding the Quebec-based construction giant, was “hers and hers alone.” But we know now and most suspected then, that that was a falsehood. Trudeau and the PMO exerted enormous pressure on the justice minister to get the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kathleen Roussel, to drop the criminal charge in exchange for a DPA (Deferred Prosecution Agreement), a clause sought for by SNC-Lavalin and inserted in the liberal budget in 2018 something the liberals did not hide but certainly had not advertised. Not only did JWR refuse to intervene, the DPP making clear they had no grounds to not proceed with the criminal case, she felt compelled to resign when demoted from the ministry she loved to that of Veterans Affairs due to a cabinet shuffle prompted, Trudeau claimed, by Scott Brison’s resignation. For some, that move was Trudeau’s way of striking back at Jody Wilson-Raybould. Evidently you don’t defy the PMO.

If the DPA had been allowed to proceed, the company would need only to admit guilt, promise corporate changes, apologize and pay hefty fines. The liberals say that that is no small thing. They are right, of course, it is no small thing that a government devout so much effort protecting a private company with a history of criminal errancy. It is no small thing that the same company avoids trial for bribery and corruption, avoids the risk of a criminal record if found guilty and, as a consequence, is able to continue to bid on lucrative government contracts.

Once the mud hit the fan following JWR’s resignation, Trudeau was particularly brutal regarding his behaviour to her, undermining her at press scrums by questioning her loyalty, discretion and authority. It was vile and brutal and personal. This from a smiling charming feminist oozing, simply oozing sincerity as he inserted the stiletto into the first First Nations member to ever hold the post of Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada. Even as he was undermining JWR, he claimed, that while he had done nothing wrong, his concerns were Canadian interests and jobs. That’s what he said then and that’s what he said again on August 14. And for that, he said, he could not and would not apologize.

The resignation of JWR led to another in support of her, that of the capable Jane Philpott recently shuffled from the ministry of Indigenous Affairs to that of President of the Treasury Board. Neither women, nor the public, should expect or believe that an apology from the prime minister will be forthcoming. That’s another side to his character: a weak man who wrongs others but is unable to publicly admit to being wrong. Today, he must be truly the sorriest man in the country, not for all the apologies nor for what he’s done, but for the fact he was caught for the second time for breach of ethics and for something far more serious. In the first instance, he was chided but unpunished for accepting free gifts, as the helicopter ride from the Aga Khan to the Aga Khan’s private island during a holiday trip in December 2016 but, in this instance, with the August 14 release of the Ethics Commissioner’s report on the role Trudeau and the PMO played in the SNC-Lavalin affair, for a conflict of interest when he and the PMO sought to obstruct justice by pressuring the attorney general to intervene with the Department of Public Prosecutors regarding the company’s approaching trial. He had sought to obstruct justice, he had lied again and again about his role, he had sought to destroy the reputation of JWR by engaging in character assassination, and, according to the Ethics Commissioner, Trudeau and the PMO, withheld vital information. Michael Wernick, at that time Clerk to the Privy Council, when testifying before the Justice Committee, clearly had abandoned the role of non-partisanship that is required of the job, had submitted testimony but his replacement, Ian Shugart refused to hand over vital documents citing cabinet privilege. The commissioner, Mario Dion, stated in his report, “The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”

Following the release of the report, with Scheer screaming in the back-, fore- and all grounds as usual, Trudeau told reporters he accepted responsibility but took exception to some of the findings which is risible since any adult with a modicum of integrity, pride and intelligence, would not accept blame if he had done nothing wrong. Yet, while publicly accepting responsibility, saying the buck stops with him, he had told the Ethics Commissioner the exact opposite, saying he could not be held “vicariously” responsible for the acts of his staff and advisors. Which Trudeau statement should we accept? Conflict of interest and obstruction of justice. This is serious stuff. This is a sign of a government in a crisis of its own making. Pride, shamelessness, duplicity, ethical misconduct, corruption and simple lying seem to be routine accepted practice by this government. This is the Trudeau who promised to do things differently, to be better and to be more transparent than the previous regime. Well, the previous regime under Stephen Harper promised the same thing exactly as Scheer does today. The liberals and conservatives are two faces on the same coin. Nothing differentiates one from the other because their interests are exactly the same: getting power and holding on to that power by any and all means. Your interests only match theirs until the vote is counted.

From the time Canada became a nation, only two parties have ever governed federally. What the hell are Canadians afraid of? Do we lack that much character, that much intelligence, that much courage that we are afraid of trying something different, new, perhaps even with the real risk of being better?

Shortly after the report was released by Mario Dion, Trudeau said he can’t apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs because “that’s what Canadians expect him to do”. Really? At what cost? SNC-Lavalin is a serial offender and governments at every level seem determined to forgive and help this corrupt company break the law again and again even going so far as to make illegal donations to political parties (since reimbursed by the liberals and conservatives). Does Trudeau really believe Canadians are that indifferent to corruption, cronyism, and bought political favours that they would approve his assisting Big Business get away with taunting, flaunting, and flouting of the law when not too long ago he was bragging about how he was upholding the “rule of law” with the arrest of Huawei executive on behalf of the USA extradition request. This is less about protecting jobs than about getting re-elected by pandering to the Quebec electorate. You do not aid and abet a company in its criminality. If you do it once, why not do it again? And if they can get away with bribery and corruption, what about cutting corners regarding issues of safety of the projects with which they are involved? Trudeau apparently is untroubled by such concerns. He is more preoccupied with the liberal party fortunes and the health and welfare of business interests than that of Canadians; I know it, so does he, and so should you after seeing him in action as prime minister.

Trudeau is an oleaginous liar, he is an opportunist, he is hypocritical, he is craven, he is unethical, he is a zero, the inveterate unrepentant diminished Prince of Promise who has joined the conservatives in the home that offers them the only true comfort from which they derive pleasure: the sewer. Liberals and conservatives, sewer rats, have failed us time and again. Voters have made that possible simply because they have refused to switch on their brains and THINK.

SNC-Lavalin did not threaten to leave Quebec or Canada if the DPA was not allowed; yet Trudeau seems to suggest otherwise. He knew better but sought to blur the lines in hopes we didn’t. If Trudeau truly believed in the rule of law, he would not have intervened as he has. With him and others in positions of power, it is as many have always suspected, when it comes to the justice and business: there are two sets of books with two sets of rules.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

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